Five emerging technology trends will blur the lines between humans and machines, says market research multinational Gartner.
Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), for example, play a critical role in enabling companies to be ubiquitous, always available and connected to business ecosystems to survive in the near future.
“Business and technology leaders will continue to face rapidly accelerating technology innovation that will profoundly impact on the way they engage with their workforce, collaborate with their partners and create products and services for their customers.
“CIOs and technology leaders should assess and pilot emerging technologies to identify new business opportunities with high-impact potential and strategic relevance for their business,” says Gartner research VP Mike Walker.
The five trends – democratised AI, digitalised ecosystems, do-it-yourself biohacking, transparently immersive experiences and ubiquitous infrastructure – each encompass a range of technologies.
AI technologies will be almost ubiquitous over the next ten years. While these technologies enable early adopters to adapt to new situations and solve problems that have not been encountered previously, these technologies will become democratised and available to everyone, he says.
Trends like cloud computing, the ‘maker’ community and open source will eventually propel AI into everyone’s hands. AI platform-as-a-service, artificial general intelligence, Levels 4 and 5 autonomous driving, autonomous mobile robots, conversational AI platforms, deep neural nets, flying autonomous vehicles, smart robots and virtual assistants are driving this trend.
“Democratised AI technologies, such as deep neural nets and virtual assistants, will reach mainstream adoption in the next two to five years,” says Walker.
“Other emerging technologies of that category, such as smart robots or AI platform-as-a-service, are also maturing rapidly.”
However, emerging technologies require enabling foundations that provide the volume of data needed, advanced computing power and ubiquity-enabling ecosystems.
“The shift from compartmentalised technical infrastructure to ecosystem-enabling platforms is laying the foundations for entirely new business models that are forming the bridge between humans and technology,” explains Walker.
Blockchain, blockchain for data security, digital twins, and Internet of Things (IoT) platforms and knowledge graphs are part of the digitalisation of ecosystems.
“Blockchain and IoT platforms will reach maturity in the next five to ten years, with digital twins and knowledge graphs close behind.”
Further, over the next decade, humanity will begin its “transhuman” era, during which biology can be hacked, depending on lifestyle, interests and health needs, notes Walker.
“Biohacking falls into four categories, namely technology augmentation, nutrigenomics, experimental biology and grinder biohacking. Questions remain about how far society is prepared to accept these kinds of applications and what ethical issues they create.”
Biochips, biotechnology cultured or artificial tissue, brain-computer interface, augmented reality, mixed reality and smart fabrics are the main technologies driving this trend.
Meanwhile, technology will continue to become more humancentric to the point where it will introduce transparency between people, businesses and things. These technologies extend and enable smarter living, work and other spaces we encounter, explains Walker.
The transparently immersive experiences trend is driven by four-dimensional printing, connected home, edge AI, self-healing system technology, silicon anode batteries, smart dust, smart workspace and volumetric displays.
Walker adds that infrastructure is no longer a barrier to an organisation’s goals.
“The advent and mass popularity of cloud computing and its many variations have enabled an always-on, available and limitless infrastructure compute environment. Fifth-generation, carbon nanotube, deep neural network application-specific integrated circuitry, neuromorphic hardware and quantum computing are part of the ubiquitous infrastructure trend.”